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sage from which he opened his ministry, as we find Luke iv. 18. Having expounded it "all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth."
To open the comforting nature of Christ's message, would be to open up the whole Gospel. GRACE is the amount : GRACE to the chief of sinners. He came to unfold all the grace and blessings of the new covenant. He came to declare and ratify all the promises. He took upon himself the old covenant. He fulfilled its precepts, and endured its penalty. He left nothing for the weary soul to do, but to come under his shadow, receive his righteousness, and share of his salvation. The amount of what he says is, "Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved." Addressing a weary soul in his day of power, he commonly unfolds some special part of the glad tidings, and that as a key to the whole. He makes some see the veracity, and taste the sweetness of one promise, and some another. To one weary soul he says, Though your sins be as scarlet and crimson, I will make them white as wool and snow. To another he makes that powerful intimation, “I will be merciful to your unrighteousness, and your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more." To a third he discovers himself in his majesty and meekness, his ability and willingness to save, and says, "I that speak unto thee am He." Whatever part of his gracious message, whether promise or invitation, he sends home to the heart, he prefaces it with such an intimation as, "Fear not, only believe," or, "Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid."
It is of the last moment to weary souls, not only to be apprized of the gracious matter, but to be certified of its infallible veracity, and that it is well attested. To make it the source of consolation, they must also be assured that the benefits exhibited are suitable and free, and that, vile as they see themselves to be, they have equal access and welcome with any of Adam's race. All these things Christ gradually unfolds, and begins his message with these gracious words, "I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Above all, he discovers his own blood as what has made a full atonement for sin, and shows that it is of infinite value and efficacy. He declares that God is in him well pleased and reconciled; and that fury is no more in him. Then he invites the weary to come to him for rest, and at last shuts them up to the faith. Then their bands are loosed, and their fetters knocked off. They are brought out of prison, and have beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning. The sweets of redeeming love are now tasted. They drink the solacing streams of that river which gladdens the city of God. The greater their anguish was when the sword of Divine vengeance seemed lifted up to strike the fatal blow, and send them into everlasting destruction, the greater is their joy when, now pardoned at such expense, they taste the sweets of liberty and life. They begin to know the kindness of youth, and love of espousals. Believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
5. Christ's having the tongue of the learned implies, that his comforting message is delivered in a
very peculiar manner. Much depends on the manner. In this respect Christ infinitely excels all others, and never man spake like him. To open his manner would lead to a consideration of two things of vast magnitude, namely, the way he addressed weary souls when in this world, and the way that he speaks to them in his exalted state. The first casts great light upon the second. When he tabernacled in the flesh he addressed the weary with infinite wisdom. At a very early period he was found disputing with the doctors, and before his claim to Divinity and Messiahship was known, his wisdom was admired. He never opened his mouth without unfolding the treasures of wisdom. His friends admired him; and his enemies, filled with malice, said, Whence has this man this wisdom? When he spake to the weary, he evidenced that he knew all their difficulties and perplexities. He does the same still. He spake with authority. There was a remarkable difference between him and the scribes. He delivered his doctrine with that authority which became one who was certain that he declared the will of God by special commission. He spake with an authority which reached the heart, and made the strongest opposition vanish. Without proposing any inducements, or waiting to argue, he said to Matthew the publican, Follow me; and he instantly left all and followed him. He said to Zaccheus, Come down, this day I must abide at thy house; and he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. He spake with amazing meekness.While he reproved his enemies with fidelity and sharpness, he addressed the weary with unparalleled
meekness. To one accused of adultery he said, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? she said, No man, Lord: and Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." He said to a certain Pharisee, "Thou gavest me no water for my feet; but this woman hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head: and he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven." To the blind beggar at Jericho, who cried for mercy as he passed by, he said, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? and he pardoned his sins and opened his eyes. He spake with great familiarity and plainness. To the woman at Jacob's well he made a discovery of herself and himself, and said, I that speak unto thee am He. When Mary wept and thought she spake to the gardener; he said unto her, in his usual manner, Mary: she turned herself, and said unto him, Rabboni. Often he addressed himself to his disciples with the utmost familiarity; and gave convincing proof to all who applied, that he was of easy access. He spake with amazing grace. He declared he came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, and gloried in being the friend of publicans and sinners. The greatness and number, the odious nature and heinous aggravations of sins never made him reject any who applied to him. The greatest sinners were pardoned, while the self-righteous were left in their sins. He spake in a most suitable manner, and in the fittest season. After taking the best aim, the most polished instruments can only shoot their arrow at a venture; but Christ never missed his mark. He hit
with unerring exactness both the case and the season. To the self-justiciary, bent upon meriting heaven, he said, Keep the commandments. If any insisted it was done, he detected the insincerity by an injunction to sell all and follow him. To a night disciple, who had not courage to confess him openly, he opened up regeneration. To the weary soul he immediately laid open his own fulness, and spake of nothing but pardon and peace. How seasonably did he address the expiring thief, when he said, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
6. It implies that he speaks with energy and to the heart. In this respect he differs infinitely from all other speakers. The energy of others falls short of the dignity of the subject; and they can only speak to the outward ear. Vast as the subject is, when he speaks, he adds dignity to it; and whenever he pleases, reaches the most obstinate heart. This particular cannot be better illustrated than by these words, Hosea ii. 14, "Therefore behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her," or, as it might be read, to her heart. This is a most gracious promise, and a pattern of the method he adopts in bringing sinners to share of his salvation. He brings them into the wilderness, that is, he puts them into the case of the weary, and then speaks peace and comfort to the heart. In respect of energy, when in this world, he so spake as to overawe his enemies. Once by a word he made them fall backward to the ground. Often he so spake as to convince and silence them. He addressed his friends with peculiar virtue, and spake in the power